It seems far too early to be assessing Anthony Martial, Manchester United’s exciting new forward. The 19-year-old has played just 116 minutes of Premier League football since his £36 million move from AS Monaco.
However, the young Frenchman has scored three times in those 116 minutes and FPL managers are reacting en masse to his brace today with more than 150,000 transfers in five hours since the final whistle blew at St. Mary’s Stadium. I saw Martial’s goal-scoring cameo against Liverpool and he looked an exciting young striker who invigorated the Red Devils’ attack. I did not see today’s game, but I’m guessing from the transfer numbers that he made a big impression. Let’s look at the underlying figures:
The sample size is tiny so we can’t jump to conclusions, but these numbers scream regression. Martial has scored with 100 per cent of his shots on target and 100 per cent of his shots in the box. That is simply not sustainable. Unless he drastically increases his shooting frequency, do not expect him to return two goals every game.
I like to judge Premier League players on Premier League performances, but because we have so little to go on I took a look at Martial’s data from Ligue 1 last season. In his first season as a regular starter, Martial scored nine goals from 51 shots, of which 56 per cent were on target. That rate of return is exactly what we should expect from a regular striker, so nothing about those figures suggests he in exceptional. He is, of course, still very young and has plenty of time to develop.
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I’m not saying Martial is a bad buy, if he can score every other game he would be good value at 8.0m (or 8.1m in about two hours time), but FPL managers bringing him in need to be realistic about his prospects.
What’s slightly more worrying is who the FPL managers seem to be taking out to make way for Martial. Bafétimbi Gomis (40,000 transfers out) and Christian Benteke (60,000 transfers out) seem to be the fall guys. Given they are in the same price bracket (7.5m and 8.5m respectively) and didn’t score this week I can see why they are being shifted. I’ll take a look at Benteke another day, but since I looked at Gomis two weeks ago, the French striker has taken six shots, including four in the box and four on target, so his numbers look fine in every respect other than the goals scored column (zero).
Buying Martial for Gomis seems a sideways move unless the manager also owns André Ayew and no longer wants a Swans double-up. Martial has Sunderland next, which is a great fixture for potential returns, but after that he faces Arsenal and Everton away and Manchester City at home. Gomis’ next four games aren’t stunning (sot, TOT, STO, avl) but they look better than Manchester United’s fixtures.