With Alexis Sanchez seemingly on the way to Old Trafford, and his signing – on the biggest contract in Premier League history – seemingly imminent, Anthony Martial is one of a few Manchester United players whose playing time could be in jeopardy.
But don’t blame Martial if he is the one to drop to the bench to make way. Don’t blame him for not doing enough to retain his place.
United’s second battle with Burnley in the span of a month was droning on toward a scoreless draw when, nine minutes into the second half, Martial picked up a lunging cross-field ball from Romelu Lukaku. The French forward pinged his shot in off the crossbar to give United a 1-0 lead, and eventually a 1-0 win. (Video above)
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City joined United in claiming victories on Saturday – a day that turned out to be a relatively ordinary one by Premier League standards. But the four Big Six sides arrived at three points in very different ways.
The Red Devils got all they could handle from Burnley, and exactly what they would have expected from a visit to Turf Moor. City also got an unexpected test from Newcastle. Jacob Murphy cut the Magpies’ deficit in half with 23 minutes remaining, before Sergio Aguero complete his hat trick to seal City’s win:
The Gunners, on the other hand, hit four goals, just as Chelsea had earlier in the day. They picked apart Crystal Palace in just 22 minutes, and rolled to a 4-1 win.
The Blues had taken down Brighton 4-0 in Saturday’s early kickoff. They scored two in six minutes to break out of their slump. The second goal featured some excellent combo play from Willian, Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi, and might be a contender for goal of the season:
Arsenal didn’t quite better Willian’s strike, but Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette scored a pretty goal of their own:
Sanchez was left out of the Arsenal squad entirely. When asked after the match why he was, Arsene Wenger gave a cheeky response that confirmed Sanchez had travelled to Manchester to complete his transfer:
— David Hytner (@DaveHytner) January 20, 2018
Wenger also hinted that the deal would likely be done in the next 48 hours, but said it depended on Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving from United to Arsenal.
Down at the other end of the table, West Brom held on for a strong point at Everton. That game was marred by James McCarthy’s gruesome leg break.
Stoke got an even better result. In Paul Lambert’s first game in charge, it jumped out of the bottom three with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield.
Meanwhile, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez stole a point for West Ham at home against Bournemouth:
And Leicester beat Watford 2-0 to leapfrog Burnley in seventh place.
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