Beneath the scorching Manchester sunshine, two teams United in name, but divided in battle faced off. It seemed only fitting that a scorching performance from a red-hot red devil settled the score.
“Fifty million down the drain, Tony Martial scores again” would have chorused the Stretford end had they been around to witness Martial bag the first Manchester United Premier League hat-trick since 2013.
United, the Manchester one, buoyed on by newfound midfield stability and fearsome attacking power, took the game to their opponents. The movement was smooth, the passing slick, and the finishing deadly.
The moment that broke the deadlock epitomized the renewed identity of Solskjaer’s men. “Too hot to handle” a fearsome low drive from the number 10 to the number 9, and a clever finish to take the lead, the reds were feeling devilish once more.
Again and again, Martial and company put the blades to the sword, and they won the joust. A sweeping finish to round off a sweeping move, Ole’s men were two up, and they weren’t done yet.
The away side did get into the game towards the latter stages of the first half, but unable to produce anything of real value, they were punished as a result.
The onslaught resumed in the second half of the proceedings. The reds were marching on to glory, and the blades were simply a stepping stone.
A glorious move orchestrated by quick passing from the midfield maestros and finished off by the incision and calm of the deadly forwards, United had scored their third.
An ice-cold finish from a red-hot player, Sheffield were left dancing to Tony’s tune, a song of fire and ice. Martial stood tall and celebrated his hat-trick, King in the North, surveilling his realm.
Performances like this are a reminder of just how good United’s number 9 can be, and perhaps a warning to rivals. Manchester United are on their way back, and Anthony Martial is primed and ready to lead them into the promised land.