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Heading into Wednesday’s match against Sheffield United, no Manchester United player had scored three goals in a Premier League game since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired following the 2012-13 season.
That changed against the Blades, as French striker Anthony Martial’s natural hat trick gave the Red Devils a 3-0 win at Old Trafford. It for the first hatty by a United player since Robin van Persie pulled off the feat on April 22, 2013 to help clinch the club its last English title more than seven years ago — a span of 263 matches.
Oh, and Martial’s performance also gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team its first win since England’s top flight returned last week following a three-month hiatus caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. It took the 24-year-old less than seven minutes to open his account on Wednesday, when he redirected a blistering pass from Marcus Rashford past visiting keeper Simon Moore:
Martial would double his side’s advantage shortly before halftime with a goal almost identical to his first. Right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was the provider on this occasion, though, his low pass from the flank met clinically with a first-time shot from the striker that left Moore with no chance:
Martial would seal the win — and complete his first career hat trick — by finishing off a beautiful team play with a quarter-hour to go. Paul Pogba started the sequence with a perfect long ball to Bruno Fernandes, who flicked it to Martial. Martial fed Rashford at the top of the box then sprinted toward goal before chipping the return pass over Moore and into the net:
Solskjaer even made history by using all five of his available substitutes, a rule changed in light of the busy return schedule, at the same time.
United’s victory was well-deserved. Solskjaer’s side dominated surprising Sheffield from start to finish. The hosts controlled almost 70 percent of the ball and badly outshot their guests, who forced David de Gea into just one save all match.
The win vaulted the Red Devils into fifth, ahead of Wolverhampton on goal difference.
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