Martial Law At Manchester United
By Dan Tracey
With much of the focus at Old Trafford currently in the direction of Paul Pogba, it is almost as if their other French international star has been left in the limelight over these past few weeks, that is however until now.
That’s because Anthony Martial is in the headlines, although it is fair to say that the forward is not necessarily in there for positive reasons. The former Monaco forward has had something of an indifferent season, one that has drawn criticism from many quarters.
However, if there is one group of people that are backing Martial, it is that of his management agency who have leapt to his defence after recent comments and they also have some important data to reinforce their support.
With Martial scoring just 12 goals for Manchester United in the recently completed 2018/19 season, on first glance it doesn’t look too bad of a scoring return. However, 10 of those goals came in the midst of early purple patch between October and December.
This meant that for the 26 league fixtures that followed, the French forward added just two more goals to his name and this is where the majority of the criticism has come from, as he and a number of United players have gone missing after Christmas.
At the same time, his management agency USFA Management have taken this criticism to task and have subsequently offered up some data to try and paint one of their star assets in something of a better light.
That’s because Martial actually had the highest shot conversion rate in the Premier League last season and also the highest percentage of shots on target and while these are two soundbites that sound impressive, they are perhaps a little misleading also.
Quite simply, if you have the highest shot conversion rate from scoring twelve goals in a league season, it means that although you are efficient, you still are not scoring enough to be considered one of the best of the division.
Take their Manchester rivals and Premier League champions City, their own percentage shot conversions would be lower by comparison and this can be explained by the fact that they are attempting more chances overall.
This means that the more shots you attempt, then increases your chances of finding the net and although a larger amount may go high and wide, you in turn then develop better odds of going onto win matches and ultimately titles.
Therefore, the stats that USFA Management have provided recently, may well have to be taken with a pinch of salt and perhaps this is evidence of them trying to protect the value of one of their assets before a potential summer move.
We all know that there is going to be a large period of upheaval at Old Trafford this summer and it could well be that Martial joins the mass exodus, while a look at his scoring credentials suggests that it is now time to move the 23-year-old on to pastures new.