Red-hot teenager, Anthony Martial is leaving a big impression on Manchester United supporters and he’s giving manager, Louis van Gaal reasons to smile again after he bagged a brace against Southampton to hand the Red Devils all three points.
t was all Southampton in the opening stages of the game and the hosts deservedly grabbed the lead via Graziano Pelle, who saw another attempt hit the post as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to add a second.
United restored parity in the 34th minute when Martial got his first of the game and the France international again showed his composure after the break when he made it two – his third in as many matches for the club.
Juan Mata poured even more salt in the hosts’ wounds halfway through the second half, with Pelle’s late strike not enough to spark a comeback.
Sunday’s results see Manchester United climb to second spot in the table with 13 points from six games, just two points behind leaders and local rivals City.
Southampton started the match with attacking intentions and got their first clear chance of the game after 10 minutes. Pelle set up Dusan Tadic at the back post, but the Serbia international fired just wide.
The hosts did open the scoring shortly after, though, via Pelle. David de Gea pulled off a great save to deny Sadio Mane from close range after the latter hit a fine cross from James Ward-Prowse goalbound, yet the Italy international was alert to tap home the rebound.
Pelle nearly doubled his side’s lead in the 15th minute as Southampton pushed for a second. Oriol Romeu reached the former Feyenoord man in the area, but he was unlucky to see his shot hit the upright.
Memphis Depay then got involved for United, setting up Martial after skipping past his opponent down the left, only for the young Frenchman to blast his shot from 18 yards out over the bar.
Southampton felt they deserved a penalty when Marcos Rojo seemingly brought down Tadic inside the box, but referee Mark Clattenburg was having none of it.
Louis van Gaal’s men then pulled level through Martial. Maya Yoshida prevented Juan Mata – who appeared to stray into an offside position in the build-up to the goal – from getting a shot in, but the ball bounced into the new arrival’s feet and he shrugged off his marker before coolly slotting home.
Martial once more showed his class shortly after the interval when he took advantage of a mistake from Yoshida. The Japanese defender played a poor backpass and the ex-Monaco striker kept his cool in front of Maarten Stekelenburg to make it 2-1.
Jose Fonte nearly levelled matters just minutes later with a powerful header after Tadic’s corner, but De Gea denied the centre-back with a stunning reflex save.
United then put the match to bed in the 68th minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger set up Memphis inside the area and the Dutchman twisted beyond his marker before hitting the post, with Mata pouncing on the rebound for his side’s third.
Southampton did get a second goal with four minutes left on the clock – Pelle heading home a cross from Mane – but United played out the game to bag the full three points.