Wide man must replace Rashford: Three things we learned about Man United in win v West Ham

By Editor Wayne Veysey

Football Insider analyses three talking points from Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over West Ham in the League Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Martial deserves extended run

To say Anthony Martial has been suffering from second season syndrome is something of an understatement. The team’s outstanding outfield player of 2015-16 has been a shadow of the dynamic attacker who reduced defences to shivering wrecks last season. But the France international’s double against West Ham provided a reminder of his rare talent. His third and fourth goals of the campaign, fused with his willingness to drive forward with the ball and commit the West Ham defenders, demonstrated his effectiveness. Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are effectively battling for the left flank role in the first-choice XI, but the Frenchman’s combination of pace, dribbling and skill cannot be matched by the English pair. Martial is not yet back to his best but is making some headway and should replace the struggling Rashford against Everton on Sunday.

Mkhitaryan earns Mourinho trust

There have been some curious United signings in recent seasons, with Bastian Schweinsteiger the president, chairman and chief executive of the misfits. On the face of it, the £26million summer capture of Mkhitaryan made absolute sense. He had torn up the Bundesliga in recent years, particularly in his phenomenal campaign last season when he scored 23 goals and supplied 32 assists in all competitions. Yet, for reasons that remain unclear the Armenian has not been given the chance by Jose Mourinho to show the United faithful why he was one of the German league’s outstanding players. Mkhitaryan was handed his second start in a week on Wednesday to show that he is finally starting to earn Jose’s trust. He responded with two assists, a delightful backheel to set up the opener for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a clever square pass to Martial for the second.

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United capable of ripping teams apart

Mourinho was not in the dugout as he served a one-match touchline ban, but the Portugese might have permitted himself a rare smile in the wake of one of the best United displays of the season. Inspired by Wayne Rooney, the home side were vibrant, purposeful and even occasionally electrifying. The fans have suffered some stultifying Old Trafford displays in recent years but this was more like the United of the Sir Alex Ferguson years. Whisper it quietly, but United under Mourinho are capable of ripping teams apart.

In other Manchester United news, Tottenham are planning to make a January bid for one of Jose Mourinho’s senior players.