Anthony Martial

Report: Martial to miss Man United’s clash with Spurs; McTominay returns

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Anthony Martial is expected to miss Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) due to injury, according to multiple reports out of the UK.

[ MORE: Spurs’ Mourinho quotes Mandela in discussing Man United return ]

Martial was subbed off late during Man United’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday. Now, the 23-year-old French attacker is reportedly struggling with an injury which was come to light as the reason he was forced off.

Martial was reportedly absent from the rest of the squad at the team hotel on Wednesday, seemingly confirming his omission from the team with Tottenham visit Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Agents made $650 million from player transfers in 2019 ]

Midfielder Paul Pogba, who was also not seen at the team hotel, is nearing a return to action in the next week or two, but will once again be unavailable due to the ankle injury he suffered at the end of September.

On the bright side for United, midfielder Scott McTominay was spotted at the team hotel is expected to return after missing the last two PL games with an ankle injury.

Blades, Red Devils engage in thrilling 3-3 draw

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A match with almost everything saw Sheffield United throw aside a 2-0 lead but rally for a 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Oli McBurnie’s stoppage time goal withstood VAR review, joining a great performance from Lys Mousset in helping the Blades to another memorable result in their return to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the changes that mattered at halftime, as his Red Devils rallied for the point.

The feckless first half Red Devils turned into a force through three second half goals from 19-year-old Brandon Williams, 18-year-old Mason Greenwood, and relatively ancient 22-year-old Marcus Rashford, who also recorded an assist.

Sheffield United moves into sixth place with 18 points, a point and three places above their visitors.


Three things we learned

1. Three kids give hope after Ole fixes formation: Brandon Williams scored his first senior goal for United with a quivering rocket in the 73rd minute. Daniel James was industrious all day if a bit sloppy, and helped set up the goal with a move down the right before Williams pounced on a ball at the back post. The behind the goal angle was sensational, showing a ball with only one destination.

Then Greenwood got on the end of a Rashford cross, one that Phil Jagiela was too slow to poke, as the Red Devils claimed an equalizer with 13 minutes to play. Greenwood turned 18 on Oct. 1, and Williams 19 on Sept. 3.

The subs fit in nicely, but the victory also came about after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had the humility to change his miserable, porous first half game plan. Phil Jones was removed as the side went from something of a 3-4-2-1 to a 4-2-3-1. The payoff took 20 minutes to really arrived, but then it just kept coming until the Red Devils were in front.

2. Mousset, Blades cut through United’s miserable back line: David De Gea was standing on his head from moment one, as the Red Devils continuously got worked. And after the Red Devils took the lead, the back line gave it away.

Lys Mousset’s new lease on life continued to work wonders, as he destroyed Phil Jones en route to setting up the first goal and then cut into a danger area to slot a 22-yard shot past De Gea early in the second half.

I mean, this is staggering stuff.

3. David De Gea keeps gauze on a deep wound: While United was getting run off the pitch — really this could’ve been 3 or 4-0 at halftime — its Spanish keeper was his best self, making a number of phenomenal saves and commanding his area. Without him, the second half outcome isn’t remotely possible.

Man of the Match: Marcus Rashford might just be coming into his own. The English striker has shown himself quite the passer of late, and there are plenty of reasons to think he’s starting to fulfill his potential. Rashford has 10 goals and 4 assists in 18 matches across all competitions.


David De Gea made two incredible saves in the 11th minute, the second an acrobatic palming of David McGoldrick‘s header.

The Blades also had a pair of penalty shouts in the first quarter hour, both unheard.

Lys Mousset was lively, and bodied Phil Jones to set up John Lundstram for a chance well-saved by De Gea only to see another John, Fleck, pop the rebound inside the far post.

McGoldrick kept coming in a bid for the second, drilling a ball to De Gea.

Manchester United had some moments in counter attack, but overall everyone short of Fred an De Gea were extremely sloppy.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Red Devils snapped to life at halftime, with Rashford using a couple deft moves to create space for a swirling shot over the frame in the 48th.

Mousset made it 2-0 when a run dragged Harry Maguire away from the Frenchman’s dribble, allowing the players to tear into a shot from 22 yards.

Manchester United got one back in the 73rd through Williams’ vicious finish, and the wall was broken down. Greenwood got to Rashford’s cross to make it 2-2, and Rashford reaped the rewards of Anthony Martial and James’ playmaking to make it 3-2.

McBurnie then settled a cross calmly, somehow avoiding a handball before smashing home for a stoppage time equalizer.

Manchester United runs past Partizan

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
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Manchester United outclassed Partizan Belgrade in a 3-0 win on Thursday, cementing its status in the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Mason Greenwood had a goal and an assist, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial also scored at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United beat Partizan 1-0 in Belgrade, and sits six points clear of them. AZ Alkmaar also won today and has eight points to the Red Devils’ 10.


Three things we learned

1. Red Devils follow plan to a 3: This fixture was always supposed to be straightforward, and United was able to put it on cruise control with goals from Greenwood and Martial before halftime. Rashford blasted an Ashley Young feed home four minutes into the second half to cast out any thoughts of a Partizan comeback. As a bonus, the domination — Shots were 14-2 — allowed 18-year-old James Garner to get a half hour run.

2. Teenage dream: Greenwood turned 18 just five weeks ago, but he finishes like a season veteran. Look how coolly he slots home near post while giving the far post eyes. He’s yet to score in 11 Premier League appearances, but those goals are coming, aren’t they? Now if only the Red Devils supporters and the media can avoid demanding he score 30 a season before he’s ready (looks at Marcus Rashford).

3. In-form Rashford finding his groove: United’s 22-year-old striker got on the score sheet for the fourth time in five matches. He was blanked against Bournemouth at the weekend but now has five goals and an assist in his last quintet of matches. The expectations placed on him so early in his career were stupid, but they’ve created a pretty hardened man. Now if only he can figure out that whole penalty thing.

Man of the Match: Rashford.

Solskjaer says ‘camaraderie, attitude’ on the up at Man Utd

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that the mood around Manchester United’s first-team squad is now “miles better” than it was in previous weeks and months, due in large part to having been through tough times as a unit and come through to the other side.

[ MORE: Liverpool fixture congestion presents serious conundrum ]

Most notably, it’s Anthony Martial whose mood is most notably improved, and Solskjaer believes that is mostly down to the 23-year-old Frenchman having been healthy and played a run of games in recent weeks. The fact he’s been deployed as a no. 9, and scored goals while doing so, is a fair indicator, according to the Man United manager — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t think he has had a long run of games as a no. 9 since he played many years ago [here] as a boy. Now he is maturing. You have to be obsessed with scoring goals as a no. 9 and he is looking more and more like a player who wants to score goals and not just show his tricks.

“For me, he has matured a lot in his behavior on the training ground as well. I believe we will see the best of him in the next few years. He looks happier and seems happy. He is an infectious boy — his smile and sense of humor. You can see he is happy here and that rubs off on everyone and it’s great to see.”

[ MORE: Erling Braut Haaland drawing scouts from more than 20 clubs ]

It’s not just Martial whose mood has swung, either. Solskjaer insists everyone at the club is enjoying themselves at the moment. Whether that is the product or the catalyst of the Red Devils’ recent resurgence (three straight wins across three different competitions) is tough to say. It’s easy to see the good times rolling on once they get stuck inside that cycle happiness.

“The whole mood — it’s miles better on the training ground. They encourage each other. It’s nice to be a coach and a manager when you see them come out and wanting to do extras, so we are improving.

“The group is more ready for tougher times and better times. It’s a miles better group that we have now. The camaraderie, the attitude of the boys, the selflessness, the humility. We are getting closer to what we want to see every day — that culture, the performance in training, the way they prepare for games. We’ve travelled together and seen each other a lot [and] they’ve been disciplined.”

Seventh-place Manchester United will visit ninth-place Bournemouth the first game of the Premier League weekend on Saturday (8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Solskjaer lauds ‘vital’ Martial following long-awaited league away win

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For the first time in 12 matches, Manchester United scored more than once in a competitive match.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

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.