Alan Pardew has revealed that he was more worried about Anthony Martial than the entire Manchester United team put together following his side's stalemate against Louis van Gaal's men. The Frenchman started on the left in the beginning but occupied a more central role as the game progressed, allowing Wayne Rooney to drop into midfield.
The Red Devils have found it very tough going to score goals in recent times, having gone over 300 minutes without putting the ball in the back of the net, including a league cup exit on penalties to Championship club Middlesbrough. Two draws in back to back games against Manchester City and Crystal Palace in the league have seen them go fourth in the table, four points behind City and Arsenal, who are raising the bar with each game.
Van Gaal does not have too many options to fall back on should Rooney and Martial fail to deliver, with the likes of Memphis Depay and Ashley Young not in great form. James Wilson, who is an option from the bench is another player who can come in to make a difference, but his lack of experience works against him on the pitch.
"We didn't give Martial an inch," he told reporters after the game. Not an inch. It was a big target for us to stop him and we felt that if we could stop him we could stop their creative angle," Pardew said after the game, as quoted by Goal. "And when you take into account his age, that's some recommendation."
The Palace manager had a word of caution for Van Gaal, urging him to check Martial's frustration should he go a few games without a goal. The Frenchman has been a revelation for United since joining from Monaco but faces the task of having to live up to the lofty expectations of fans.
"I have to say that he's an impressive young player. I think he handled himself very well today, because he would have felt our presence around him, and still he had moments in the game," Pardew added.
"With such a young player, he'll have to be very, very careful, the Manchester United manager, to keep his exuberance there. Because we're all looking to stop him."