Since Anthony Martial’s big money move from Monaco to Manchester United in 2015 for £60 million, if add-on clauses are met, he hasn’t met the price tag yet.. I want to investigate how much of an impact Martial has actually had in his time in Manchester through this statistical profile. But, it’s worth remembering that Martial is just 21 years old.
The feeling among Manchester United fans on the frenchman is quite mixed. I think there is a mix of appreciation, disappointment and hope as fans either think he is good, want to think he’s good or know he’ll be good in the future.
What I’m interesting in is evaluating his performance in his time in Manchester after being asked this week if Martial was overrated by all football fans after one and a half average seasons at Manchester United to date.
How much of an opportunity has Martial had at MUFC this season? Well, the age utility graph below (which I’ve explained here) shows that this season he hasn’t been used much, just 35.9% of potential minutes. But, three matches were missed due to minor injuries. The x-axis shows age and y-axis shows % of minutes played. Last season Martial played 2632 minutes (76.9%) and missed four games through injury, so was more of a key player last year under LVG.
Below is Anthony Martial’s radar for this season after 22 league games. 711 Minutes isn’t the best same sample size, but it’s decent. Martial has produced an okay radar so far but hasn’t exactly lit the world alight. He has dribbled well and produced a good assist rate, but a low rate of key passes so this may not continue. He has barely shot this season, something I’ll look at later, and has lost the ball often and has just just 2 goals. But, playing on the wing probably hasn’t helped this as this has limited his shot selection.
This second radar shows last season’s disappointing output. His eleven goals were pretty average and produced a lot of successful dribbles but again little else. He has very low shot volume and created little overall.
This green radar is Martial’s performance for Monaco in his last season in Ligue 1. It’s relatively similar to the shape his 15/16 radar with similar output. However, the change in shape of his 16/17 graph could be due to different role or style.
Looking at Martial’s shot map for the 15/16 from Paul Riley‘s great website, it isn’t bad. This only shows his shots on target but it suggests that most of his shots are taken after cutting in from the left, which makes sense. Of his shots on target 50% (12/24) were taken in the DZ (Danger Zone), shots which on average have a 1 in 6 chance of being a goal.
Anthony Martial’s shot map from this season, below, is quite different with just 3 out of 19 in the DZ (15.8%) and shots being primarily further out on the left and a lot less central. Using Ben Torvaney‘s basic xG site Martial has produced 1.34 Expected Goals and scored two.
This xG figure isn’t very accurate but it’s the best I can get. With 0.07 xG/shot his shot quality has been low, along with just 2.4 shots per 90 minutes. Low shot quality and quantity won’t lead to high performance.
With just 1.6 key passes per 90 this season Martial is below average. Looking at Mark Thompson‘s graphic (which he used for this article on Pogba) we see Martial as being reasonably similar to Rashford, his main competition for left midfield. Martial does more in his own half and less in the opposition third than Rashford.
Overall, Martial and Rashford both makes the least passes per 90 in the United team, which could suggest they use the left wing less, but according to WhoScored 38% of Manchester United passes are in the left third so I could be wrong. Martial makes and receives few passes in the box, which makes sense with his shot map where he doesn’t get very far into the box, to shoot at least.
To conclude, I think it is easy to forget Martial’s young age as it feels like he’s been around for a while but at 21 you can’t expect world class performances and need to remember also that the expensive fee is paying for his future ability which many will agree that he’ll reach. This season his radar suggests a pretty average display and his shot map is very poor.