Do Man Utd perform better when Martial plays?

12 Apr 2023
Anthony Martial

Erik ten Hag says statistics highlight Frenchman's importance, so we have looked at the data

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While the confirmed absence of top scorer Marcus Rashford is a blow for Manchester United, it has coincided with Anthony Martial's welcome return.

See: Man Utd confirm Rashford will miss matches with injury

An injury-blighted season has restricted the Frenchman to only 17 appearances in all competitions, eight of those as a substitute, yet he has still struck seven goals.

With Martial scoring off the bench against Everton on Saturday, manager Erik ten Hag believes the Frenchman can pick up the baton from Rashford and lead the team's charge on three fronts in the Premier League, UEFA Europa League and FA Cup.

"You say I defended him [in the past] but I just pointed to the stats," Ten Hag told the club's official website. "The stats are telling you that the moment he is on the pitch, the time he needs for a goal is [short].

"When he is in the team, I refer to games against Man City and Liverpool, we play our best football and we have the best results as a team. I see how he contributes to the team."

As Ten Hag has suggested, Martial averages fewer minutes per goal than other Man Utd player this season, netting every 114 minutes on average.

Mins/goal all comps. 2022/23
Player Mins played Goals Mins per goal
Martial 798 7 114
Rashford 3,552 28 127
Garnacho 1,062 4 266
Fred 1,876 6 313
Sancho 1,619 5 324

The data also backs up Ten Hag's assertion that his team have better results when Martial is in the team. In fact, in the Premier League, they have won all six of the matches he has started.

While Man Utd have a similar number of shots with and without Martial, they score more goals when he plays, averaging 2.2 per match compared to 1.3 without him.

Without the ball, United win possession in the final third more often when Martial starts, and concede far fewer goals, with 0.5 per match compared to 1.5 without him.

Martial's impact in PL 2022/23
Stats per match Martial starts Doesn't start
Matches 6 23
Wins 6 11
Win percentage 100.0% 47.8%
Points 3.0 1.7
Goals scored 2.2 1.3
Expected Goals 2.1 1.5
Shots 14.2 14.5
Possession 53.1% 54.1%
Poss. won in final third 6.3 4.8
Goals conceded 0.5 1.5

The initial focus for Man Utd is Thursday's UEFA Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla.

But if Martial is selected for the next Premier League match on Sunday, he will aim to score against Nottingham Forest for a third time this season.

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He netted in United's 3-0 league win last December and in their 2-0 Carabao Cup success in February.

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