United have made the perfect start to the season. While Lukaku is still finding his feet, it’s clear that the centre forward position is his to keep. This means Rashford and Martial are fighting for the same wide position. In theory, you could play both players behind Lukaku, but Mourinho appears to disagree with this. United have added strength in depth right across their squad, which has increased competition considerably. This is great for the club as they rejoin the Champions League, but who should get the nod out wide? Today we’re looking at: ‘Rashford V Martial: Who is the better option for United?’
Rashford V Martial: Goal scoring
While Lukaku has already shown that he’s easily capable of passing the 20 league goal mark, United’s success this season will heavily rely on goals coming from wide positions. Both players have already opened their accounts, with Rashford most recently scoring a crucial goal against Leicester on the weekend. Their statistics last season were slightly underwhelming though, when it came to goals scored.
Martial hit the net 4 times in 25 Premier League games while Rashford scored one more in 32 matches. Nothing to get overly excited about. However, context here is important. Mourinho spent last season making United harder to beat. Expansive, flowing football was sacrificed in favour of defensive solidity. This season will be different. Even after 3 games, it’s clear that United will score many more.
In the Europa League, the scoring stats were again disappointing. 2 goals in 11 matches for Rashford and only 1 in 10 for Martial. The shot accuracy of both players fell in the mid-fifty range.
Rashford V Martial: Creating chances for others
The scene of Martial cutting inside a full back before shooting or setting up a teammate has been repeated many times since he arrived at Old Trafford. In just 25 league games last season, he made 18 key passes and had 6 assists. Compare this to Rashford’s statistics of 18 key passes and just 1 assist in 32 matches. The stats for the Europa League reflected slightly better on Rashford where he had two assists to Martial’s zero. Nevertheless, the overall stats don’t lie and Martial has already hit the ground running this season with 5 key passes to Rashford’s 4.
Verdict: Martial edges it
Rashford V Martial: Defensive Play
Mourinho won’t allow his attacking players to forget about their defensive duties. While the two wide positions primarily focus on inflicting damegs on opposition defences, there is an expectation that they will also track back. While Rashford is more agressive in the tackle, the statistics last year reflected slightly better on Martial when it came to defensive play.
Martial had on average 0.7 tackles per game versus 0.5 for Rashford. They both had 0.4 interceptions per match while Martial had 0.4 clearances per game versus only 0.2 for Rashford. Mourinho loves nothing more than a brilliant attacking player who can also do the dirty work.
Verdict: Martial edges it again
It’s a tight call, but Martial takes it for us. While there will be plenty of opportunitiesfor both players in the coming games and seasons, starting Anthony Martial is the right choice for now. Do you agree? Let us know in our poll on Twitter or by leaving a comment below.