Martial Matters

Emphatic impact sub Martial scores late winner to sink Tottenham at Old Trafford

The French winger scored a decisive winner just 11 minutes after taking to the field.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Old Trafford Martial has now scored four goals off the bench for Man United this season. Martin Rickett Martin Rickett

FOR THE FOURTH time this season Anthony Martial entered from the bench only to score for Manchester United, with Saturday afternoon’s 81st minute winner against Tottenham definitively the most important of the lot.

Throughout a scrappy and equitably entertaining game in which both sides aimed to close the gap on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, it often looked like a winner simply couldn’t be picked.

Jose Mourinho’s side were licking their wounds following their first Premier League defeat of the season following a shock 2-1 loss away to newly-promoted Huddersfield last Saturday.

Spurs, meanwhile, with their dramatic EFL Cup exit to West Ham aside, last weekend continued an 11 game unbeaten steak by disposing of a disastrous Liverpool side 4-1 at Wembley.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Old Trafford Marcus Rashford and Toby Alderweireld battle for possession. Martin Rickett Martin Rickett

Where it seemed like a two-horse race for the title may have been emerging between the Manchester clubs, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were showing their credentials.

Following a period of quiet form for Romelu Lukaku the Belgian began this game excitedly and registered a host of United’s closest chances.

There weren’t many, mind, with Ashley Young’s brilliant performance delivering repeated crosses into the box proving fruitless.

Both sides were a match for one another as dominance in possession and chances at goal swapped at regular intervals.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Old Trafford Martial slots the ball post Hugo Lloris to give United the lead with nine minutes to go. Martin Rickett Martin Rickett

However something eventually had to give in the dying stages as both sides went for the jugular knowing that a draw between them could extend Man City’s lead at the head of the table to seven points by this evening.

With that in mind Mourinho introduced Martial with 20 minutes to go. Both sides looked like breaking the deadlock minutes later when a Christian Eriksen cross almost saw Dele Alli flash it home three yards from goal for the visitors.

This before Lukaku bounced a powerful header off the bottom of Hugo Lloris’ post with 11 minutes remaining.

Two minutes later, however, United were ahead and on course to a significant win. A David De Gea kick-out was headed on by Lukaku expertly, before Martial raced onto the ensuing scramble to retrieve it.

He got to the ball before Ben Davies and also before Hugo Lloris — gliding the ball up and over the French goalkeeper to send the Stretford End into deafening raptures.

United now go three points ahead of Spurs in making second place their own — with all eyes on the Hawthorns and rivals City later this evening.

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