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Martial & Cavani | Andy Mitten on a tale of two strikers

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

22:10 28 Jan 2021


Andy Mitten believes that Anthony Martial needs to put in a string of consistent performances for Manchester United, particularly after the arrival of Edinson Cavani.

United were beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday, and the performance of Martial was one of the poorest in one of his most difficult seasons at the club.

Anthony Martial

"He doesn't speak much English, his closest friend is Paul Pogba, who has had his major ups and downs, probably more than any other player," Mitten said of Martial.

"[Pogba] has been scoring match-winning goals, but I can't pretend that Martial has been doing well. He is not scoring goals and his body language does not instil confidence in supporters.

"There is definitely a talent there, but you get these conversations going around all the time - he can be spectacular but if you are going to be up front for a team at the top of the Premier League then you need to score more goals.

"Last season he did do, and if he could have pushed on and at least replicated that then fans would be fine with it. As it happens, he is becoming a bit of a scapegoat because he has been disappointing."

Title contention

"He is fit, he has not had to get over COVID like Paul Pogba did, and it makes you wonder that if these players were doing well then Manchester United could be genuine title contenders.

"For the first time in eight years, United are in a proper title race, and you want your rivals to lose matches. I was watching Aston Villa - Man City and you're wife says 'Who's this team, this Aston Villa?'

"It's a good thing, football should be like this, it should be entertaining. And it is.

"But Martial is one of the players that could be making Manchester United even better than they have been.

"I don't doubt that he'll come good again, he has the confidence of his manager but if you are not playing well then you're not worth your place in the side."

Cavani

Martial's dip in form has been all the more obvious for the good form of their wily striker, Edinson Cavani.

Cavani has been a willing and able presence for United up front, also providing important goals against the likes of Southampton and Fulham.

"He has had a good month - he had a pretty slow start to his United career because of COVID, injuries and his ban as well.

"He is a top player, and I know that on the training ground he is one that everyone looks up to. He doesn't speak English either, but [it is] just his professionalism, his mannerisms and his dedication.

"When I asked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about what he brings to the team, he said 'How long have you got?'

"He loves him, he has made a very, very good impression. He is not prolific, United have not got a prolific goalscorer. Bruno Fernandes is the biggest goalscorer."

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