Will Martial's return mark the turning point for Man United's poor season?
Anthony Martial has made a big impact since returning to action. With the help of Opta data, we look at his importance to Manchester United.
Manchester United scored more than once in a Premier League game for just the second time this season in Sunday's 3-1 win at Norwich City.
A first away league victory in nine attempts since February for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men coincided with the return of Anthony Martial, who missed two months of action with a thigh injury prior to returning as a late substitute against Liverpool last week.
Martial started the season in impressive form with two goals and an assist in his first three outings, including a strike in the 4-0 win against Chelsea - the only other occasion United have scored more than once in a game in any competition since April.
Solskjaer this week talked up Martial's importance and is hopeful his relationship with strike partner Marcus Rashford - also on the scoresheet at Carrow Road - will "improve and grow" over time.
With the help of Opta stats, we look at the impact Martial has had since arriving at Old Trafford in 2015 and explore his link-up with Rashford in more detail.
MARTIAL HITS THE GROUND RUNNING
Martial came on as a late substitute against Liverpool last week and made his first start since August in the 1-0 Europa League win against Partizan, scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to mark his return in style.
The France international retained his place in the line-up for the trip to Norwich three days later - the first time he had started alongside Rashford since the opening weeks of the campaign.
And the duo did not take long to show just how dangerous they can be when used in tandem high up the pitch, most notably in the build-up for Martial's 73rd-minute strike to put United 3-0 ahead.
Martial knocked the ball into the path of Rashford, who returned it with an impressive flicked pass for the 23-year-old to beat Tim Krul - who had earlier kept out penalties from both players - with a dinked finish.
It was Martial's 37th Premier League goal since arriving from Monaco in September 2015 - more than any other United player in that period, with Rashford next best on 32.
RASHFORD CAN PROFIT FROM MARTIAL RETURN
Speaking after that first away league win of the campaign at Norwich, Rashford admitted the Red Devils' attacking players need to step up and craft more opportunities for each other in front of goal.
Rashford has now created three chances for Martial in the top flight during the latter's limited time on the field this term, making it one of the most effective link-ups in the side.
In the prolonged absence of Martial, meanwhile, Rashford has had to rely on Paul Pogba (seven) and Daniel James (five) to create chances for him.
With the ex-Monaco ace now back to full fitness and hitting the ground running, it is little wonder why Solskjaer is excited to see how the partnership blossoms.
MARTIAL MATTERS TO UNITED
While Martial was recuperating from his latest injury lay-off, Rashford has been quietly going about his business.
The versatile attacker has been involved in the fifth most goals of any Premier League player in 2019-20, scoring five times and setting up three more.
That puts him level with Raheem Sterling (eight) and Mohamed Salah (eight), while only Kevin De Bruyne (11), Jamie Vardy (10), Sergio Aguero (10) and Tammy Abraham (nine) have been more heavily involved in front of goal.
And on the basis of the 90 minutes in East Anglia last weekend, Rashford's stats - both in terms of goals and assists - will surely only improve following the return of Martial alongside him.
Only a string of fine saves from Krul prevented United from running riot in that most recent league outing, with Rashford and Martial managing eight shots on target between them.
"It's like Teddy Sheringham and Solskjaer!" United's Norwegian boss joked after the match. With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez no longer around, it is very much down to Martial and Rashford to bring the good times back to Old Trafford.
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