Anthony Martial

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:

Anthony Martial performance GW5+6 2015/16

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.



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.

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11 thoughts on “Anthony Martial

  1. Agree with the sentiment, I think this bandwagon is too knee-jerky and blinded by Sunderland coming to Old Trafford. United have most fans in the game, this may also explain why he is getting so many transfers in.
    I think it’s better to wait and see for the next 4 games and watch the next game from behind the sofa 🙂 Gomis sellers will be burnt over the spell of the next four gameweeks.

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    • Yes, Gomis may have been slightly over performing a couple of weeks ago, but his production this season is just about bang on for a Premier League striker now.

      You have a great blog Smarty Pants.

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      • To be honest, from what I saw I got an impression that Gomis rather underperformed in the last two games than overperformed in the first four. But maybe no returns over the last two games is an indication that he has started to lose his confidence in finishing, we’ll see.

        I like your blog too, fellow dog. All the pieces that I came across were very pleasant to read.

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        • Thanks. That’s true, looking at the last two in isolation he has underperformed a little. Taken as a whole, four goals this season is about right for him. And four in six is a good return in the Premier League.

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  2. Ryan says:

    I have sold Sakho to bring him in. The reason I sold Sakho was because in my opinion he’s not in form, he was lucky to score a scrappy goal at the weekend. I’m not willing to hold onto him despite having strong fixtures because to me he doesn’t look threatening enough.

    There are a few reasons why I got Martial. Firstly he is only 8m and plays up front for United, he’ll get a good run of games as he’s the only real out and out striker in the squad. From the few opportunities he’s had he’s taken them very smoothly and oozes confidence when in front of goal. As a striker for United I would expect him to have more opportunities to shoot in future as his team mates get used to him.

    The other reason I bought him in is the immediate bandwagon this will become and the subsequent price rises. The huge United fanbase will cause a snowball effect as they clammer to bring him in for the Sunderland fixture. He will rise 0.3. If he does well against Sunderland as expected then he’ll rise another 0.3. This one could quite quickly get away on you. Of course us at FFS will see his hard fixtures and will continue to resist, forgetting that he is playing up front for United, a fixture proof team. If you avoid him now, it will more than likely be a long term decision. Possibly a costly one.

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    • You make some valid points in your counter argument Ryan. He could snowball, particularly in a season where good striking options have been hard to come by so far. But that doesn’t change the fact that his underlying data does not support his current rate of return long term. Nevertheless, if he does do well and the factors you list in his favour do work for him, then he could still be good value at 9.0m. West Ham have some decent fixtures coming up, but I can understand your desire to shift Sakho. The Gomis to Martial move is a stranger one for managers who don’t also own Ayew.

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      • Ryan says:

        For sure, he won’t continue to score at 100% however he will get more shooting opportunities, I can’t see him continuing to average 1 shot per game. United have so far underperformed this season when it comes to creativity, as a top team expect this to improve as well, and when it does Martial should reap the benefits.

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        • It’s a gamble. The early adopters could be rewarded (may well be rewarded next week at least), but could also find themselves sitting on a player who doesn’t score for a few weeks wondering whether they should sell because they will lose a significant amount in TV.

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  3. Ruth_NZ says:

    Bottom line for me: I don’t want Martial right now and have absolutely no intention of bringing him in. United’s fixtures are awful. All I want is Diouf fit. 😉

    If I were to bring Martial in it wouldn’t be before GW12. If I have to pay 9.0 then it will make no difference to me. He’s not a season-keeper and the more I pay for him the more I subsequently sell him for.

    Bandwagons are worth following for price rises on 2 conditions:

    1. You think you may want the player long-term (in which case paying the lowest price helps on budget), or;
    2. You rate their prospects over the next 4-6 games and are happy to have them in your team for that period whilst riding the price gains. Wilson at 5.4 was an example of that for me.

    Martial meets neither of those criteria so I’m happy to pass on the price rises. Otherwise it would be a matter of using 2 FTs (value 8 points) to gain maybe 0.2 budget.

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