For the first time in 12 matches, Manchester United scored more than once in a competitive match.
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To be exact, the Red Devils struck on three different occasions at Carrow Road on Sunday in their 3-1 victory over an ill-fated Norwich City. Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all contributed a goal a piece as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and company moved up to seventh in the table.
Perhaps the most striking fact, however, is that United’s win away from home is their first in Premier League play since February. Couple that with two, consecutive wins in a span of four days, and there are almost zero reasons why the Norwegian manager should be unpleased with his team’s necessary revival. To the BBC:
“This had been a good week for us,” Solskjaer following Sunday’s victory. “It started with a decent performance against Liverpool and now two wins away from home. It gives the players confidence and momentum.”
“The third was a very good goal and a class finish,” he added. “It is great for Anthony Martial to score a goal like that. We could and should have had a few more goals.”
The Frenchman, spearheading United’s attack, wasn’t particularly sharp – his blocked penalty kick stands out – in his 75-minute shift against a struggling and sluggish Norwich, but he managed to score minutes before coming off.
More important than the goal, was the build up to it. It embodies a quality United will need in order to dust off the negativity (and poor play) that has haunted the side for far too long: the synchronization between Martial and Rashford. When the high-flying and astute duo connect, there is very little that can stop them.
“We’ve missed Anthony the last two months and it’s great to have him back,” the Norwegian manager admitted on Sunday night. “Him and Marcus, they’re just gonna improve and that partnership is gonna grow. Sometimes we play the two of them, today we had Dan James as well, so we had the three of them. So very happy and great finish by Anthony.”
“He (Martial)’s vital for us,” he added. “He’s a top striker and to have him back, fit, smiling, enjoying his football is a big thing for us. He’s clever in his movement but he’s not been given credit for his clever defending.”
Finally, things, slowly but surely, coming along for United. And the prudent thing to say – at least according to Solskjaer – is that Martial is a big reason why there is a break in the clouds at Old Trafford (and when they hit the road).
“We feel Anthony’s an important player for us and we’ve felt the effect of him not being there and pleased to have him back and scoring goals,” Solskjaer said.