Home » Rasmus Højlund an instant improvement over the lackadaisical Anthony Martial

Rasmus Højlund an instant improvement over the lackadaisical Anthony Martial

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United succumbed to a disappointing 1-3 defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The performance certainly did not deserve the end result but manager Erik ten Hag was once again hamstrung by the club’s incompetent leadership that recruited certain players and the failure to offload them.

United were once again forced to start Anthony Martial up top with Rasmus Højlund yet to attain full match fitness. and the Frenchman once again cut a disappointing figure.

Martial struggled yet again

He tried to drop deep and help knit passes together but in an away encounter, the team needed a focal point up top, who could hold on to the ball despite Arsenal pressure and allow the team to progress up the pitch.

He was once again sorely lacking in that department and his general lackadaisical attitude has been criticised by all and sundry, yet he remains a United player long since his last world-class performance.

In 67 minutes on the pitch, he had 18 touches of the ball while his replacement, the Dane ended the game with 10 touches despite playing less than half the minutes.

He was instantly more of a focal point for the team, and held up the ball on two occasions despite intense pressure from Gabriel, allowing skipper Bruno Fernandes to sweep the ball wide to the dangerous Marcus Rashford.

He was close to winning a penalty after a darting and powerful run into the box and he seemed to have made space for himself but his shot was blocked, unlike Martial who hardly bothered the opposition defenders.

Højlund completed the game with an Expected Goals (xG) of 0.33 as compared to Martial’s 0.05, indicating the 20-year-old’s chance could have led to a goal, something the abject Frenchman did not even manage.

(XG indicates the likelihood that a chance will be scored by using information on similar shots in the past, stat taken from Sofascore)

Rasmus impressed on his debut

His cute backheel allowed Casemiro to slide in Alejandro Garnacho, who converted only to be pulled back by VAR by the tiniest of margins.

The former Atalanta man showed his upper-body strength and his running power and he can be the man to help alleviate some of the scoring pressure off of Rashford’s shoulders.

Still he is 20, and United ideally would require Martial to come good at some point this season. But with competition for spots increasing, the France international usually ends up hiding.

United needed another striker this summer transfer window but failed to address the situation.

Ten Hag might be forced to turn to Martial but while hard work cannot be expected from him, hopefully, Højlund can justify his price tag this season.

Latest Top Stories...