Man Utd's Anthony Martial looked like a player transformed during Aston Villa win

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United and Anthony Martial are having an absolute riot in the Premier League.

The Red Devils have been in glorious form since the restart, continuing their unbeaten run in all competitions that started with Bruno Fernandes' debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Since that goalless draw at Old Trafford, United have propelled themselves into the top four race with wins over Chelsea, Watford, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Brighton and Bournemouth.

Aston Villa vs Man Utd

However, the early exchanges in Birmingham resembled nothing like the chaos that filled United's 5-2 win last time out and the relegation-battling hosts put up a stringent defence early on.

Trezeguet rattled United's nerves early doors, striking the post after dispossessing Paul Pogba, but their hard work was unravelled as they conceded a penalty before the half-hour.

VAR controversially accepted Jon Moss' decision to award United a spot kick for Ezri Konsa's tackle on Bruno Fernandes which, for all intents and purposes, looked incredibly soft.

Bruno Fernandes - just as he did against Watford, Club Brugge and Tottenham - made no mistake by sending Pepe Reina the wrong way and elevating the visitors into a lead.

Martial's superb work rate

It seemed to take the wind out Villa sails, too, with United doubling their advantage just before half-time with Mason Greenwood scoring his latest rip-roarer on his supposedly 'weaker' right foot.

And although it was a stunning finish that duly earned Greenwood props for four goals since the restart, it was the work of Martial in the build-up that made it all possible. 


Incredible work for Greenwood's goal

The Frenchman has been panned in the past for allegedly being a lazy player, an idea that Jose Mourinho prescribed to, but that couldn't have been further from the case at Villa Park.

Martial could be seen winning back possession from Tyrone Mings in own half, tenaciously holding on to the ball, sprinting down the pitch and then teeing up Greenwood for the goal.

Check out the classic and brilliant number nine work down below: 

More superb tracking back later

Ah, but that was a surely a fluke, right? Well, absolutely not because Martial was nearly rewarded for his hard work yet again when he intercepted the ball in front of Conor Hourihane in the final third.

The ball eventually found its way back to Martial, who was desperately unlucky not to pen his name on the scoresheet when his fizzed, left-footed effort stuck the cross-bar.

But check out his stunning defensive work once again: 

In the words of the Telegraph's James Ducker: "Martial doing the sort of dirty work he never used - his work rate and appetite unrecognisable from what it was. It's been one of the biggest changes in him."

A transformed player?

Martial even appeared livid to be subbed off late on which, in the words of Gary Neville, is incredibly positive, particularly from a player once accused by Paul Scholes as not being fussed about scoring.

So, sure, you could short-sightedly put United's form down to Fernandes' arrival and the 'signing' that is Pogba returning from injury, but let's give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer some credit here. 


Whatever he said to Martial to get him tracking back, sprinting relentlessly and channelling his inner N'Golo Kante has worked an absolute treat and surely the player himself is enjoying the benefits.

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