Manchester United fans were once again delighted with Anthony Martial despite their side’s exit from the Europa League after drawing 1-1 with Liverpool on Thursday.
The Frenchman, in a situation that demanded attacking conviction, was a force on the left all game.
Martial’s brilliance on the ball in the first half, which led to a penalty that he duly converted, gave Man United fans a glimmer of hope on the night. And while his excellent display wasn’t enough in itself to see United over the line, supporters were quick to praise the 20-year-old:
Martial is the only player that moves around the box, everyone else stands still and makes no attempt to find space
— Anton Santos (@AntonSantos92) March 17, 2016
#mufc need to get the ball to Martial every time. Clyne has no idea how to live with him. He's done him three times already
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) March 17, 2016
Get that statue ready for Anthony Martial.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) March 17, 2016
Only one everyone agrees on tonight is Martial. Where would we be without him? In a bigger darker pit of despair I suppose #PostMatchHayles
— Stretford Paddock (@StretfordPaddck) March 17, 2016
Martial playing like our most experienced player
— Shire (@_Kon123) March 17, 2016
Operation: Get the ball to Martial and hope for the best.
— Kevin Kelly (@kevinkelly14) March 17, 2016
Being dumped out of Europe by Liverpool signals one of the darkest passages in United’s recent history. Amongst a multitude of setbacks this season, this is the most seismic for Louis van Gaal and his beleaguered side.
There is, however, one shred of optimism that can be taken from tonight’s horror show – and that is Martial. He acts as the main – and perhaps only – reason to be positive about United’s future; the sublime, flourishing and somewhat arrogant nature of his game resembles the one glimmer of hope in an otherwise shambolic season.
Before Philippe Coutinho’s goal, which effectively settled the tie, Martial single handedly injected some life into Old Trafford, and gave United fans belief. But their side’s fate was effectively sealed after the first leg.