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Ryan Giggs was heavily critical of Anthony Martial after the Everton game on Sunday. Saying he “looks” lethargic, not bothered, not running, working or trying. This THREAD will look at these and other criticisms and show that Ryan was wrong on most counts. #MNF @TonyCascarino62
Ryan also said that Martial was not holding the ball up, not getting across the front post, not offering anything defensively and not offering anything offensively. These are particularly scathing words. Tony Cascarino also weighed in today with harsh words, calling Martial lazy.
Cascarino added that Martial should take a leaf out of Dan James’s book. You would expect Cascarino, a former striker himself, to understand the difference between a striker and a winger. A winger has to track back with full backs and get forward again. His work is obvious.
For a striker, his defensive work is more about team shape and not allowing centre backs a free ride forward. I’ll put some clips up of Martial’s game against Everton, and refer to the comments of Giggs and Cascarino.
Utd use a set play from the kick off and Martial is involved. He “holds the ball up” and “offers something offensively” in the first 15 seconds.
Coaches work a lot on team shape. Martial’s defensive work is mainly to be not too detached from the rest of his team mates. Just over a minute gone and he’s “offering something defensive” here already.
Really for a centre forward, blocking crosses on your own dead ball line is “offering something defensive” more than you might expect. Two minutes gone here. He’s been busy so far.
This is just run of the mill work for a premier league striker. It’s no big deal, but I’m not convinced he does it any worse or better than other strikers.
Here after 11 minutes you can see Martial constantly trying find space to receive. He gets one pass from AWB and his “hold up play” is good. After passing he continues to try to offer himself.
Ryan talks about him not running or trying. Regularly he goes short for the ball and occasionally for one behind. Here James has gone infield and Martial has to hold his position. He’s on the half turn ready to go but can’t go until the ball goes ,to be onside. But it goes left.
Martial is coming to the half way line to offer himself here. When he eventually gets it he’s just outside the box with his back to goal. Ryan says his hold up play isn’t good. Perhaps show this clip to your players and challenge them to do it. The hold up and turn is pure class.
The defensive duty of a striker is a thankless task. He’s the first line of defence and knows he has to turn once it’s kicked, and head towards his defenders in case of a strong header away. It doesn’t come far but he nearly nicks it. Take it you’d have got this Tony ?
Nothing comes of this but another day it may have been a free kick in a dangerous position. Martial does “work” though,running from right to left to get involved and finds space. He tries consistently to find space. This thread will be long enough though as it is,to show all that
Utd don’t come under too much pressure but when they do, the shape is good, including Martial’s position. Wingers get noticed for chasing full backs. Strikers don’t get noticed too much just for being in “defensive shape” Tony and Ryan.
This is to show a run where he doesn’t get used. He starts on the left and moves towards the right as the ball does. He puts a dart on at one point for the ball over the left back, but it goes to James’s feet instead. He moves left again and has another go to receive over there.
Easily the best piece of play of the game so far and it revolves around Martial. Drops to get it to feet, feeds Shaw, sprints down the line, gets it back. His ball that puts Shaw in behind is exquisite. Definitely “offering something offensive” there Ryan.
Ps. In that last one even though I said “comes short to get it to feet” I should have also said that that is top quality hold up play, Ryan.
Yet more superb hold up play and a quality turn, swiftly followed by a short pass here to Lingard. Top drawer. We could do with more players with his ability, application and team ethic.
In that last one watch Martial burst towards the box in hope of something happening after he releases it. He doesn’t “look lethargic” or “not bothered” to me.
This one is explained in commentary
Just another one about team shape and defending as a team. If anything Martial may be doing himself no favours by being so deep. At least Ryan, he offering something defensively.
Here Martial has gone left to try to get involved and Rashford has gone central. The ball goes down our right and Lingard chases. Martial and Rashford both push on to a man each and make it difficult for them to get out. I’ve seen no evidence yet of Martial letting anyone down.
One here where someone may see Martial standing and think why isn’t he running or showing. You’d expect Ryan Giggs not to fall for that though. McGuire takes the wrong option. Martial doesn’t move towards McGuire because he expects in one second to be moving towards AWB.
If you watch the last one again and just concentrate on Martial you can spot him already edging slightly towards the right, plus he gestures to McGuire where to play it, as McTom does. He has a picture in his mind as to what will happened next. McGuire isn’t on the same page.
Soon after Everton’s goal they get another dangerous moment. Martial again is at least as deep as necessary for the centre forward. Rashford doesn’t do enough to stop the cross. If that was Martial I dread to think what Ryan and Tony would have said.
This is so simple yet so smooth by Martial. If the others controlled and passed as well as he has I think we’d have had a chance or two. We’re nearing the end of the half and Martial’s hold up play has been good. None of Ryan’s points seem true to me , in this half anyway.
Martial drops into his own half to try to get us going and it starts off well. Shaw ends up in trouble though. One thing not put to the test yet is Ryan’s “he doesn’t get across the front post” because we haven’t crossed it yet.
He starts at centre forward in this one. Nothing wrong with that. When we are forced back he runs back to offer himself. When the ball goes out left he rushes towards the box. Opposite to Ryan’s thoughts, to me he looks interested and keen, not lethargic or “not bothered”.
Here’s the first possibility to “get across the front post” as Giggsy is complaining about.
Injury time of the first half and, Tony Cascarino, Martial is surely working as hard here as you could expect any striker. I’m not saying necessarily harder than others, but definitely doesn’t deserve slating.
Dying seconds of the half now and I’m pretty sure this ISN’T an instance Ryan is talking about. I’ve put it up only to show there’s not a single instance in the half where Martial should have got “across the front post” as Ryan said. Maybe there’s a few in the second.
At half time I don’t agree with any of Ryan’s points. Not one of them. “Not offering anything offensively” could be close but would be grossly unfair on the grounds that he was at the heart of much of our best play, it’s a TEAM GAME and the team didn’t offer enough offensively.
It’s late now and I’ve been on this for hours. I love this club and we’re not going through a great period. The last thing we need is well respected pundits possibly knocking the confidence of our best players with no valid reason. Good night, second half tomorrow.
First minute of the second half. Utd trying to get out. As Martial comes into shot you just see he is deep and offering himself for a pass. They choose to play James instead. As they do Martial bursts forward. Looks keen and enthusiastic to me still.
Three mins in, Utd are probing. It’s a good bit of team play. Martial is working all the time to develop the attack. He’s involved three times in the move,the second time superbly. In this clip it “looks like” he’s running the game to me. Ryan says it “looks like” he doesn’t try.
Here he definitely “gets across the near post”. The ball in is a touch too high though. Sometimes in football no matter how hard you try it just doesn’t go for you. It’s frustrating but there’s not much you can do about it, apart from keep trying.
This is quality play here. Almost everything at once. He “works” to get space in the first place. His “hold up play” is quality. He definitely DOESN’T look lethargic or not interested. His determination to keep the ball for the team and to do the right thing should be admired.
Still only 6 mins into the half. He’s on fire. Again good hold up play. Three try to get around him. Maybe he buys the free kick a little but I’d say it’s his attacking threat that concerns Everton. He’s definitely “offering something offensively” here.
As he comes into shot here he’s been offering,but it goes to James. As he turns to go, the defender gives him slight push the other way. He could make up maybe another two or three yards but spots Rashford heading to the front post. No harm slowing up near the edge for “the bits”
This ones just up for his body language really, what he “looks like”. Ryan uses the phrase “looks like” a few times, that’s a personal view. Here he attempts a run in behind but is caught marginally offside. As he comes back to me he “looks like” someone who is giving his all.
Everyone has specific jobs at specific times. This is a free kick straight down the middle. The criticism of him “not offering anything defensively” you might think he doesn’t have a specific role in things like this. He’s not doing much but this is his predetermined position.
Again he heads for the front post but the cross is blocked. To say he doesn’t get across the front post enough isn’t fair so far in this game, with almost an hour gone.
Beautiful hold up play and simple pass that gives James time. On another day a better ball goes in or a better attempt at the header. In the first 15 mins of the half Martial is offers more “offensively” than any of the other players,as it was in the first half. Why pick on him ?
Gary Neville also on Martial’s case in commentary here saying he should have been showing for AWB in the inside right position. Again the criticism is extremely harsh in my view.
In the last clip by the way, AWB should either take a touch and put the ball in the box, or take a touch and pass it if anyone’s available in a better position to cross. He SHOULDN’T run towards that little cluster of opponents and close down his own options.
Just over the hour. Martial trying again to get involved near half way on the right. Generally we are better when he does get involved. This time he gets missed out, but by the time Luke Shaw approaches the box Martial is making a run through inside left channel. Good enthusiasm.
This is a poor bit by his standards. His lay off to Lingard is excellent but when he gets it again he shouldn’t shoot, he should use Rashford. Even though it’s not good, he’s still offering, running and working. The things that are levelled at him are still not appearing.
Again it doesn’t work for him. He’s been an excellent TEAM player up until the last few minutes. He’s seems to have tried to take matters into his own hands now, with first a shot and then a dribble that don’t come off. Certainly no lack of effort though.
Around 70 mins gone and he’s still running into space and then looking for the best option for the team. He slightly under hits a simple ball to Shaw but Shaw still gets it and wins a corner.
Seconds later he picks up the loose ball, turns beautifully and picks the right option with pass to Fred. Again he heads towards the near post after releasing Fred. The cross goes too far so he heads to the other post ready for the next ball in.
He’s at the near post yet again. Two men on him and the ball that comes in is slightly behind him. Frustrating for him also you know, but sometimes it’s just not happening.
73 minutes. I’m not sure when he’s going to stop trying. He finds space to receive a throw, turns and whips a ball over. Maybe he’s entitled to expect Rashford to be more on his toes here. Harsh perhaps, but similar things seem to be levelled at him. Still offering offensively.
75th minute. Decent hold up play again. That’s definitely an area he doesn’t deserve criticism. Gets a free kick in a decent position.
79 minutes and the first cross where he should get across the front post and doesn’t. This definitely doesn’t warrant such heavy criticism of his whole performance. Fred needs to look at himself too though. He’s got all the time in the world and they are queuing up at the back
The hold up play here is actually excellent again. Once he has it under control though there’s just a misunderstanding. He tries to play off Rashford, but as Martial plays it Rashford moves off hoping for a through ball.
84 mins. Martial to me looks like he’s moving around more than anyone else. It’s nice football this and Martial is involved twice. We get AWB Into a good position. There are two more red shirts in front of Martial in the box, so he definitely DOESN’T need to go near post.
Yet ANOTHER near post run, he made so many that Ryan mustn’t count the ones where the ball comes nowhere near him.
90th minute. Utd defending and desperate to get forward. Martial is back keeping the defensive team shape. He wants the ball but it’s just booted forward. He turns and chases. No more than another striker may do, but no less either. It’s like ping pong then and he has no chance.
92 minutes, Mata is in front of him. Apart from that, it’s desperation time and he tries to be between the posts. Cross is a touch too high and can’t get off the ground anyway with the man so tight on him. I’m sure he could hardly try any harder though, that’s the main point.
94 minutes. Could he be doing more ? Would be a little harsh in my opinion. He goes back hoping to pressure the midfield player but he releases it quickly. Then has to go back towards the centre back. If many strikers would do all this quicker in the 94th, I’m not so sure.
I’ve taken hours studying this game and I understand that Ryan doesn’t have that opportunity immediately after the game. I also realise that he has to say something. Some of it is so way of the mark though that I’m sure he’s not given it much thought.
If he watched this game and studied the things he’s mentioned, hold up play, offering nothing offensively or defensively, not trying, not getting across the post, I would hope he would change his mind. If not, I hope Utd don’t ask him to watch a player they may be interested in.
Finally, Tony Cascarino. An ex striker himself who knows how thankless a task it can be at times. @TonyCascarino62 you should be ashamed of yourself.
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