Anthony Martial's 'bizarre' form for Man Utd analysed in Pitch to Post podcast

In the latest Pitch to Post Review podcast, Sky Sports News' north-west reporter Cooper talks Martial, more mystery around Donny van de Beek, and whether United will strengthen in the window. Search Sky Sports Football podcast and listen now on Apple and Spotify

Anthony Martial Pitch to Post

James Cooper explains why Anthony Martial's starting place at Manchester United is at risk having not scored a Premier League goal all season.

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After an impressive 2019/20, where the Frenchman scored 23 goals in all competitions, Martial is struggling for form at Old Trafford this season, which is again leaving fans divided on his worth for the club.

Here, in the Regional Review section of the latest Pitch to Post podcast, Sky Sports' north-west reporter Cooper talks Martial, more mystery around Donny van de Beek, and whether United will strengthen in the upcoming January transfer window...

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Martial's form 'bizarre'

Martial
Image: Martial is yet to score for United in the Premier League this season

It's bizarre. He's been at Manchester United for five years and I still don't think fans know who the real Anthony Martial is, and I think that extends to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer too.

Just when you think it all clicks, last season where he scored 22 goals, you think he's got it, he looks like a Premier League finisher, and he gets his place back in the French squad.

But on the evidence of this season so far, the most eye-catching thing he has done is the red card against Spurs, which left them in a mess.

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We're talking about a Manchester United side who have one goal from open play in the Premier League.

It's really, really difficult and frustrating, and I think Martial may have a problem on his hands selection-wise if Edinson Cavani becomes fit enough to start for United. Once he is, I think he'll get that position down the middle.

Edinson Cavani pictured during his Manchester United debut
Image: Edinson Cavani is battling with Martial for a starting spot

You go with Rashford on left, and Greenwood, all being well and Manchester United get him back into some sort of groove, goes on the right. So where does that leave Martial? I think probably out in the cold.

At the moment, he's praying for goals, and probably praying for Edinson Cavani to stay out of the side.

Something is not quite right, and he's one of those players who really splits opinion. Some love him, some can't understand why he's playing for United. I think the latter have the stronger argument at the moment.

He clearly has a lot in his locker, he's clearly a very talented player for Manchester United, but all of that progress last season doesn't seem to have made any difference this season, which is really frustrating.

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Van de Beek money could have gone on Sancho or defender

Donny van de Beek
Image: Donny van de Beek is still getting limited opportunity at United

You wonder why Manchester United spent that money. They did the deal very quickly: but we did ask, do they need Donny van de Beek if they have Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in that side?

Where does he fit in? One word comes up in this: trust. From the outside it looks like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not trust Van de Beek to do what he wants him to do for Manchester United.

It might be that he doesn't feel he can fit into a system. If you're going to play with that security, it's dull, yes, but it gives you that security to get a result. If you're going to play that system you don't see Van de Beek getting into the side over Fred, Matic and Scott McTominay.

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If you assume that Bruno is first pick on the teamsheet, then you're looking at Van de Beek vying with Paul Pogba.

Manchester United have nine games in December, Van de Beek must get a chance during that time, otherwise this a really, really bizarre transfer. Something doesn't add up.

Jadon Sancho
Image: Could the Van de Beek money been spent on securing Jadon Sancho?

You wonder whether the money for Van de Beek could have been thrown into a pot for a central defender. Or could that money be put to get Sancho over the line?

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Quiet window at United

I think it's going to be a quiet window, which may not be much of a surprise for United fans, although they may feel the club should be clamouring for a centre-back.

I think suddenly you might see a different Harry Maguire if he's alongside someone who does the running and is a bit more disciplined than Victor Lindelof, with an aerial presence.

I think what we'll see is a lot of traffic out of Old Trafford; the likes of Jones, Rojo, Romero, and it will be interesting to see if Dean Henderson is given the loan move that would give him a platform to reach the Euros squad.

Amad Traore, hopefully, will come through the door, and perhaps he's the right winger Manchester United are looking for, even if he is 18.

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