When Jose Mourinho was the in charge of Manchester United, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford competed for positions in starting XI. The duo very rarely ,started together. Both of them were predominantly positioned on the left wing but they had intentions to play through the centre. However their ,playing styles always had clear differences with Martial playing with more close control and Rashford focusing on his pace and power.
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer become the manager at United, the two of them have been pivotal in his tactics. Martial and Rashford have almost always been a part of the same line up when fit even though both players have had injuries at the end of the season. Anthony Martial made his return to the centre last ,season as well after getting his preferred number 9 shirt. The Frenchman provides great link up play with the midfielders. He has a good partnership with both Bruno and Pogba. He uses his passing and dribbling to progress the ball. Martial is a clinical striker and understands his role in the final third.
Marcus Rashford has had the best campaign of his career so far. He has found his position on the left side and had the entire season to adapt in that position. Rashford was on course for a brilliant season before he got injured. Rashford is simply best when dribbling at the defensive line whether that is on the outside channel or cutting inside or shooting at the goal himself. The English international has been very good in the final ,third from last season as he often looks to come inside and shoot. He has also improved his passing this season.
The fact that both players are comfortable in either position means that they can often interchange throughout games. This suits Martial who likes to drift wide so that he can receive the ball in space. Even though Rashford has played more in the wide left flank, he is often found operating down the central areas too. Not only do they interchange positions but the pair also interchange in the attacking play. Martial enjoys dropping in and building the play while Rashford is more willing to run in behind the ,defensive line.They can also switch it up and Rashford can offer to be the progressor from deeper areas while Martial makes those runs behind the line.
The two players like to be positioned closely ,on the pitch so that they can attempt to link up whether this is in the central areas or in the deeper areas during build ups. In the final third ,they make a front two so that they can make quick passes between one and other if the ball is played into one of them.
The duo clearly have a great connection in the final third and their link up can further improve in the future. The movement of each player ,maximises the output of the other. Martial takes the lead in this department because of his intelligence when making runs off the ball. The striker looks to create space for Rashford to help him move inside. Martial’s movement ,is the underlying factor in how Rashford managed to find the inside lane with such ease.
The two players have clear intention to help each other play through their movement whether that be Martial opening up space for ,Rashford to drive into or Rashford running beyond the defence to help create more spaces for Martial between lines. Although they still have areas they can strengthen we ,have to agree that giving the chance to start in the side together was a great decision by Solskjaer. This duo will surely improve with time and with players like Bruno and Greenwood joining the pack, the attacking areas look pretty balanced for Manchester United.