Before Monaco’s second leg tie with Arsenal on Tuesday night, coach Leonardo Jardim has a huge decision to make regarding his team selection. Dimitar Berbatov was superb in the first leg, leading the Monegasque line perfectly, but he has pressure from young Anthony Martial, who also impressed in the first encounter.
In the past, French radio station RMC Sport have linked the 19-year-old forward with a move to Arsenal, but the player once dubbed “The next Thierry Henry” by sources such as the Express finally looks to be settled in the Cote d’Azur and he could come back to haunt the London club on Tuesday night.
Martial led the Monaco attack on Friday night as they beat SC Bastia 3-0 at the Stade Louis II, scoring his first ever brace for the club. There was a point at the start of the season where it looked like Jardim was close to selling the youngster, but sanity prevailed and now, with more playing time, he looks like a superb talent for the future.
Friday night was his 11th start this season, scoring his fourth goal. The youngster will now look to add to that and he is the perfect option to lead Jardim’s attack on Tuesday. In the first-leg he was played out wide and used for his pace down the flanks and with Monaco set to play on the counter again during the second-leg, his pace, rather than Berbatov’s ability to hold the ball up, could be a huge deciding factor in who progresses.
Young Martial is a product of the famed Lyon youth academy, and was only sold to Monaco for €5 million in 2013 due to OL having to balance the financial books. Their loss has definitely been Monaco’s gain and he now possesses the pace, skill on the ball and ever increasing maturity to lead Monaco’s attack against Arsenal.
There is little doubt that with Arsenal’s scouting network over in France that they would have been aware of Martial’s situation before he was sold to Monaco. €5 million may have been a lot to spend on a 17-year-old, but two years down the line, he could now be the player that costs Arsenal a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.