The Premier League’s first hat-trick in the POST-COVID era came from the unlikeliest of clubs and the unlikeliest of players on Wednesday night.
A good number of folks had their money on Riyad Mahrez or Phil Foden as Manchester City thumped Burnley 5 nil at the Etihad on Monday. However, this was not the case.
It came from their neighbors Manchester United at Old Trafford and by Anthony Martial on Wednesday night in the Red Devils’ 3 nil win against Sheffield United as they mounted more pressure on those above them in the race for the top 4 places.
It can be recalled that no Man United player had scored a hat-trick for the club in the Premier League since the retirement of Alex Ferguson. That’s a major reason why no one saw it coming. It was Man United’s first hat-trick in the Premier League in seven years. Regardless, it came when it was needed.
The Frenchman Anthony Martial has been prolific for the Red Devils since 2020 began, and more so since the arrival of Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes. The France international appears to have benefitted the most from Fernandes’ arrival in no small measure as he has scored 6 goals since then.
It’s no more news that United’s attacking instinct under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has improved since Fernandes’ arrival. The Portugal international is arguably the best signing of the January transfer window in the Premier League.
Anthony Martial showed composure and was very clinical in his three goals. The third on the night was a pointer to a player brimming with confidence.
He chipped the ball with finesse past an onrushing Simon Moore to cap off an impressive and emphatic win. We’ll have to watch our for him and see what he’ll up to in upcoming games.
It seems the wind has gone off the sails of the Blades since football returned. Maybe, they’re content with survival and are tired of punching above their weight.
One would have expected them to put in more of a fight but the Red Devils have their eyes on a top-four finish and were too good for Chris Wilder’s men on the night.
We are seeing a rejuvenated Martial this season in what can be described as his best since joining from Ligue 1 outfit Monaco five years ago. The Frenchman now has 14 goals in 25 Premier League appearances, his best tally since joining the Red Devils, and 19 goals in all competitions.
He has also had his shortest spell without scoring in the Premier League this season (4). He was subsequently awarded the Man of the Match Award although he reportedly forgot the match ball.
Martial has been plagued by inconsistencies in his time at Man United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always pointed out the efforts he has put in to work with the player to ensure his improvement.
The Norwegian boss admitted his improvement and pointed out that the goals he scored on the night were a reflection of what has been worked on in training. Martial was the main man on the night but the efforts of Marcus Rashford who came up with two assists cannot be overlooked.
The top four race is heating up with Wolves now joining the pack. Jose Mourinho’s Spurs are not completely out of the race.
Leicester City are now in danger and Chelsea must look over their shoulders in the coming weeks if they fail to garner all three points when they face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.