Marital arrived at Man United on transfer deadline day and he enjoyed a blistering start to life at Old Trafford, scoring five goals in his first nine appearances as a striker.
However, the Frenchman’s form has faded since van Gaal made the decision to often play Martial out wide. Martial scored in the 2-1 defeat against Norwich City but Henry and Carragher criticised his deployment on the wing by van Gaal.
Discussing Martial’s touchmap from the game against Norwich, Henry asked: “What are you doing here? I actually do not know what he is doing there. He should be there [in the penalty area], having a one versus one, scoring and celebrating. Is it fear? Is it because they have been brainwashed a bit too much? I just don’t get it.
“They wanted a guy who scored goals. They wanted a guy to run in behind fast. He came in and did that. Suddenly now he finds himself out there, almost not touching the ball. I think if I had a player like that, he would be my No.9 and the rest are around him.”
Carragher agreed, adding: “The interesting thing is that’s the instruction from van Gaal, to stay wide. Let’s not forget, he is a centre forward slash winger, so normally you would be expect him to make those runs inside.
“But he’s had so much instruction now, that he has stayed out wide. That touch map is from a [Jesus] Navas of Man City, someone who hugs the touchline, tries to beat the full back and put a cross in. You see how many touches he has had? Not one touch in the box, and just the one cross. So he’s not even pulling wide and doing damage. And that all comes from the instruction of the manager, and why Man United never look like scoring in the game.”
Expectations for Martial skyrocketed following his excellent start for United but they have been tempered somewhat by his fairly innocuous form as of late.
However, the same can be said for many of his teammates, and the blame for that has to lie at the feet of van Gaal. His restrictive tactics haven’t helped United flourish from an attacking point of view and you get the sense that Martial et al would benefit from a change of manager.