The curious case of Martial’s finishing

RUCK4444

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He’s missed some unforgivable chances so far this season, the one thing previously I did feel confident about Martial was his finishing but that’s gone.

He needs to continue playing and play himself back into form, problem being we can’t afford to carry him and personally I would drop him and play Pogba off the left with Cavani central.
 

LDUred

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I thought that Martial and Rashford had really improved but they have been disappointing this season and Greenwood has had a sophomore slump. Some of the chances they have missed have been criminal and would never have been gotten away with during Fergie's time at the club. You just can't see Ruud, RVP, Yorke, OGS, or Cole missing these kinds of chances. That chance at the end that Martial hit tamely at the 'keeper would have been gobbled up.

We are scraping by for the time being, but someone has to find their shooting boots between now and the end of the season or we are fecked.
 
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Morpheus 7

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I thought he turned a corner against Villa. This slump in front of goal is shocking, he's hurting the team at messing up others chances. That's how poor Martial has gotten. Having a shocking season.
 

babablue

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I feel he is not the same confidence after one exact match. Sevilla semi finals. dont know what happened expect he missed there 2-3 clear cut chances and we went out.
It was actually the match before - against Copenhagen - that it started. He missed a bunch of 1 on 1s, that just a few weeks before, he was putting away by chipping the keeper. My memory is fuzzy, but I think even the penalty that won the game resulted from one of his misses.
 

crossy1686

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By that token he was one of the best strikers in the league for 6 months last season so you can’t have it both ways. He’s clearly a classy player struggling for that confidence which is when fans should rally behind a player but hey ho...
But he's been poor to average more than he's been good. We can list many strikers who seem to hit a purple patch at some point then revert to their mean. I think he's a bit of a con man, to be honest, and have done since Mourinho wanted him gone. He's no better than the likes of Saha we've had here, which is fine but he shouldn't be starting once we get a better striker.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Stuck in a rut. He's always been a very good finisher since he joined us but this season it's really fallen off a cliff.
 

Womp

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He had some terrible attempts a few times which threw Cavani off/took the ball off him only to have a terrible attempt. His finishing has gotten to the point where it's so bad that it isn't just impacting him, but it's begun to directly impact other's ability to score too.

Was a decent performance though. He's a very odd player to me. Seems to have the natural ability that would put you in the top tier of players, but he just doesn't have the intensity. I watch him at times during games where he is just dawdling around etc. which is so frustrating cause he is so capable of skinning players.

He will still be important to anything we can do this season though, he's one of our starting forwards so hopefully he hits form soon.
 

Galactic

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All strikers live on confidence. He's clearly short of that. He missed some clear chances. Maybe he should talk to Andy Cole.
 

kouroux

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Like I said in another thread, he truly specializes at one particular way of shooting and finishing. If other situations appear for him, I don't have high hopes of him scoring
 

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I’ve always felt when he’s had time to think about what he’s doing he’s tended to miss a chance. Give him something with less time involving more instinct and he slots it away no bother. Couldn’t care too much though as we got the 3 points.
Wasn't saha like this, I always felt he was better when it was an instinct finish rather than a calculated one where he out thinks himself
 

Bebestation

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He is a dribbler and shooter type player. Thsts why you always see him take an unnecessary extra touch at times.

We have stopped counter attacking this season and teams fear us more because of Bruno Fernandes so they sit back more compact so his ability to dribble and place a shot has significantly gone from the system.

We are now much more built as a unit and as much as he creates chances for other players, chances arrived at his feet that he has to finish more quickly and more predatory.

Rashford has that predatory or tenacious factor but Martial can be anxious and wants to dribble instead to place the shot.

The team is just playing at a different tempo to him now in my opinion.
 

MadDogg

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Hes actually been that bad in front of gial that if he picks up his level to that of last season for the next 20 odd games Id actually believe we could win the league. We've largely been doing it without him at his best.
I said the same thing in his thread. Martial kicking into form is probably the single biggest thing thing that could really push us to truly competing for the title. It's amazing that we're in this position with him, Greenwood and Rashford all playing quite poorly this season, although Rashford is at least still getting the goals and assists. Even Bruno hasn't been playing particularly well for much of the season, but like Rashford he's still been getting the final product. I'm not sure how long we can coast by with all our main attackers struggling, and Martial getting into form is probably the biggest possible improvement that should then help our others also improve.
 

cyril C

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He would have been 39 in 1996... pretty much unheard of for a central midfielder at a top club in the mid 90s
Wasn't saha like this, I always felt he was better when it was an instinct finish rather than a calculated one where he out thinks himself
Look at it this way. 3-4 seasons ago Martial was at Kane / Vardy level in terms of finishing, now he is at Saha level.
 

DRM

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There is nothing curious about it. He is just in a rough patch.
A rough patch for half a season?
Actually, no, this is going bag towards the tail end of last season. His poor finishing cost us a place in the Europa League final
 

Sylar

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Look at it this way. 3-4 seasons ago Martial was at Kane / Vardy level in terms of finishing, now he is at Saha level.
Regardless of comparisons, it is a concern for us.
I mean less so now than it was under Jose/LVG as those games we would only create one or two chances per games it seemed and they had to be scored otherwise we were done.

Thankfully our midfield has really stepped up and counted with McT, Pogba, Bruno scoring goals and chipping in.
But yeah we need him, Rashford and Greenwood to kick it up a notch this second half of the season.
 

mitchmouse

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Been saying for long time, he is not a natural goal scorer and for Ole to keep playing him as a No.9 and almost never pulling him off (unless injured) is a joke. Pretty much every time he's in a 1-on-1, I am confident he'll hit the keeper. I've never agreed with those saying he was once at Vardy/Kane level and those misses are going to cost us at some stage. We need a world-class finisher
 

kafta

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I get that he is low on confidence at the moment, but we need to be killing teams off. Earlier in his career, we weren't creating much, but he had some really decent looks yesterday. Needs to get his head right and get back to his best. We're in a title race and we need our forwards firing.
 

roonster09

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This rough patch is starting to get a bit long though....

5 goals in 21 apps is pretty rotten form. And this at a time when we generally have been playing quite well and have created a fair bit of chances
Martial always was among the top when it comes to conversion rate, so it's just a rough patch.

His finishing is one of his strongest attribute, he will be back to his best finishing off these chances.
 

Grande

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He looks slower and more sluggish than his former self. He used to be such a silky player. His hold up play has really improved but his finishing and dribbling have fallen off.
My guess is that he’s done what many do to accomodate a new position - he’s put on strength muscles to withstand pressure as a no nine, which will often for a while take a step out of the explosiveness. A player whose lost a step of explosivity will often look like that, because they by instinct always miscalculate the soace and time they have by a few milliseconds. It’s enough to turn you into an ‘almost player’ for a year and of course gets to the confidence. Sometimes it takes up to a season to adjust.

Darren Flercher had a clear case of this adapting to CM in his youth.
 

JPRouve

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he don't like competition for places for me, any time he has real competition he struggles to perform, when Zlatan came, When Lukkaku arrived and now cavani, surely cant be a coincidence. his best times has came his first season and last season when he basically started if he was fit
That goes against available evidences. He has always earned his spot under Mourinho on the field and he wasn't in competition with Ibrahimovic or Lukaku but with Rashford on the left wing. It's Rashford that competed with Ibrahimovic and Lukaku.
 

KeanoMagicHat

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I thought that Martial and Rashford had really improved but they have been disappointing this season and Greenwood has had a sophomore slump. Some of the chances they have missed have been criminal and would never have been gotten away with during Fergie's time at the club. You just can't see Ruud, RVP, Yorke, OGS, or Cole missing these kinds of chances. That chance at the end that Martial hit tamely at the 'keeper would have been gobbled up.

We are scraping by for the time being, but someone has to find their shooting boots between now and the end of the season or we are fecked.
Cole did miss chances like that, quite famously too. All strikers miss chances, you don't remember their rough patches at the end of their career, only their better days.
 

rollingstoned1

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He is a dribbler and shooter type player. Thsts why you always see him take an unnecessary extra touch at times.

We have stopped counter attacking this season and teams fear us more because of Bruno Fernandes so they sit back more compact so his ability to dribble and place a shot has significantly gone from the system.

We are now much more built as a unit and as much as he creates chances for other players, chances arrived at his feet that he has to finish more quickly and more predatory.

Rashford has that predatory or tenacious factor but Martial can be anxious and wants to dribble instead to place the shot.

The team is just playing at a different tempo to him now in my opinion.
agree, my impression of tony m is that he has been a safe finisher with those bottom corner finishes on his right foot cutting in but those are more of the wide forward variety with him picking up the ball a bit deep or being released than a cf's finish like he came up with a couple of weeks ago or like the ones Cavani scored against Soton. He will have to learn that bit on the job imo if he is to be our first choice striker, scoring tap-ins using clever movement, headers, chips,etc.
 

Rood

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Out of form, low on confidence. Switching of positions not helping either - will hopefully snap out of it sooner or later
 

Bebestation

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agree, my impression of tony m is that he has been a safe finisher with those bottom corner finishes on his right foot cutting in but those are more of the wide forward variety with him picking up the ball a bit deep or being released than a cf's finish like he came up with a couple of weeks ago or like the ones Cavani scored against Soton. He will have to learn that bit on the job imo if he is to be our first choice striker, scoring tap-ins using clever movement, headers, chips,etc.
Yeah, it's a bit tough with Martial at the moment because we need that very basic in the box goal scorer whilst we are arguably strongest on the left already; yet - somehow Martial does offer us something that a striker like Cavani or Haaland or Greenwood need themselves which is that bit of nice link up play and creativity which he always brings to the table even if his finishing boots have been missing. We saw this vs Everton when Cavani didnt do much until Martial's exquisite pass in my opinion.

With regards to his counterattacking ability, I hope maybe the day we kind of settle him a bit more to our number 2 striker - he will be able to come off the bench and attack tired defences or counter attack teams that need a goal against us instead.

We saw yesterday right at the end Martial and Cavani's nice one two when Martial's finish unfortunately went directly to Pope when he is low on confidence and tired.

Martial should probably be what we wanted Daniel James to be in my opinion and he will be quite the useful player, better than most 2nd strikers of the PL teams in the league and he can start some matches on the occasion too.
 

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But he's been poor to average more than he's been good. We can list many strikers who seem to hit a purple patch at some point then revert to their mean. I think he's a bit of a con man, to be honest, and have done since Mourinho wanted him gone. He's no better than the likes of Saha we've had here, which is fine but he shouldn't be starting once we get a better striker.
This is nonsense I'm afraid. Take a look at his goals per 90 season on season.

It's been a pretty consistent upward curve for the three seasons before this one and the improvement coincided with him getting more minutes and a longer run in the team. What we are seeing now is the blip.

2020/2021: 0.2
2019/2020: 0.58
2018/2019: 0.55
2017/2018: 0.51
 

GueRed

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Cole did miss chances like that, quite famously too. All strikers miss chances, you don't remember their rough patches at the end of their career, only their better days.
Cole missed chances as well but his movement off the ball, workrate and mentality is levels above Martial.
 

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To be fair we're clearly short of a clinical finisher. As much as I love Cavani and have loved his impact, he's never been clinical, he loves a miss or two. I'd still say Greenwood is our best finisher, but even he's go through a bit of a rough spell, as you'd expect with someone so young.
 

crossy1686

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This is nonsense I'm afraid. Take a look at his goals per 90 season on season.

It's been a pretty consistent upward curve for the three seasons before this one and the improvement coincided with him getting more minutes and a longer run in the team. What we are seeing now is the blip.

2020/2021: 0.2
2019/2020: 0.58
2018/2019: 0.55
2017/2018: 0.51
No, you've manipulated the stats here to benefit a certain perspective.

If we're talking just PL and not the Europa or League cup against sub-par sides, let's look at his actual goal totals:

YearMatchesGoalsAssists
2020-211323
2019-2032176
2018-1927102
2017-183095
2016-172546
2015-1631114

Last year was the only season he's ever broke 20 goals, but go on, don't let stats and facts discourage you, keep telling yourself he's improving.
 

Withnail

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No, you've manipulated the stats here to benefit a certain perspective.

If we're talking just PL and not the Europa or League cup against sub-par sides, let's look at his actual goal totals:

YearMatchesGoalsAssists
2020-211323
2019-2032176
2018-1927102
2017-183095
2016-172546
2015-1631114

Last year was the only season he's ever broke 20 goals, but go on, don't let stats and facts discourage you, keep telling yourself he's improving.
Sorry I should have said my figures were based on the PL.

Last year was the first year he got a decent run as first choice since his debut season. Every other season was stop start with a lot of sub appearances.

The fairest way to compare the performance of a goal scorer whose in and out of the team is based on goals per 90.

30 matches in 2017/18 accounted for 1582 minutes and 27 matches in 2018/2019 accounted for 1623 minutes, whereas the 32 matches in 2019/20 accounted for 2640 minutes.

You're not comparing like with like between those three seasons.
 

Adam-Utd

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he's just lost some confidence and is seeing a tiny goal in front of him - it happens.

Only way to get through it is keep getting chances.
 

crossy1686

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Sorry I should have said my figures were based on the PL.

Last year was the first year he got a decent run as first choice since his debut season. Every other season was stop start with a lot of sub appearances.

The fairest way to compare the performance of a goal scorer whose in and out of the team is based on goals per 90.

30 matches in 2017/18 accounted for 1582 minutes and 27 matches in 2018/2019 accounted for 1623 minutes, whereas the 32 matches in 2019/20 accounted for 2640 minutes.

You're not comparing like with like between those three seasons.
I don't particularly agree with the minutes and matches thing, he's not always played as a CF so I'll give you that. However, I don't think that an extra 5 games in his 3rd season would have resulted in 6+ goals. He was on the bench for a reason, red hot strikers or world class talent don't get benched.

I agree, last season he was great and I questioned my opinion and changed my stance on Martial, I really thought he could be the striker we wanted him to be after all, but now I'm back to just not seeing a 20+ goal a season striker again.

In all honesty, if we could get Haaland or someone as good in, I'd sell Martial while he still holds some value in the "potential" market. I don't believe he's ever going to be the player we want him to be.
 

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I don't particularly agree with the minutes and matches thing, he's not always played as a CF so I'll give you that. However, I don't think that an extra 5 games in his 3rd season would have resulted in 6+ goals. He was on the bench for a reason, red hot strikers or world class talent don't get benched.

I agree, last season he was great and I questioned my opinion and changed my stance on Martial, I really thought he could be the striker we wanted him to be after all, but now I'm back to just not seeing a 20+ goal a season striker again.

In all honesty, if we could get Haaland or someone as good in, I'd sell Martial while he still holds some value in the "potential" market. I don't believe he's ever going to be the player we want him to be.
The difference between those two seasons and last season is around 1000 mins so it would be the equivalent of 11 full games rather than 5 games.

Based on the numbers per 90 if he played as first choice and got somewhere around 30 games in both of those seasons you'd expect a return of 15-20 PL goals which would be fine as part of a goal scoring front three.

The last time he scored so few goals per minutes played was back in 2016/2017 when he had his number 9 taken off him and was relegated to a bit-part player under Mourinho. He was also quite young and in his second season at the time.

I agree it looked like he'd cracked it last season but my opinion is still that his current form is a blip based on the body of evidence. Hopefully he can get back to his best soon but obviously someone like Haaland would be preferable.
 

James35

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Played quite well and his movement was good but he just couldn't hit water from a boat right now. It is worrying as his mental strength always seems to be lacking.
Thought he had a much better game than Rashford mind but he does seem to be a very divisive player amongst fans which probably doesn't help his confidence either.
 

spiriticon

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He's not a classic centre forward so won't get many goals by being in the right area and the right time and tapping it in. He'll never be that sort of player. That said, to see him miss so many finesse finishing opportunities is really frustrating. He is better than this.
 

Andersons Dietician

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He looks like some bereft of confidence. like he’s being overly cautious taking too long and too many touches like he is searching for the perfect moment and space to take the shot. More often than not it never comes and it gets blocked or ball gets taken off him.

Never been one for someone who just smashes it and hopes but I’m starting to think he’s just going to have to start trying that soon instead of always trying the classy finish. No way you can just go from as good a finisher as he was to being what we see now unless it’s just confidence. He needs to find that mojo and soon.