Wayne Rooney or Anthony Martial - Who fills striker berth for Manchester United this weekend?

Wayne Rooney

Who does Louis van Gaal start up front for Manchester United this weekend - Wayne Rooney or Anthony Martial?

Manchester United host Sunderland at Old Trafford this weekend, and manager Louis van Gaal has a big decision to make.

Does Anthony Martial start his second Premier League game up front for the Red Devils, or will Wayne Rooney be given a great opportunity to break his duck?

United's big summer signing from AS Monaco has made an instant impact since his £36 million move from Ligue 1 at the end of the latest transfer window - as reported by the BBC. Martial came on as a substitute to wrap the game up versus rivals Liverpool with a stunning solo effort on his debut in a 3-1 victory.

The 19-year-old striker was handed his first Premier League start the following weekend, netting twice in a 3-2 win at Southampton.

United had been second best and trailed in the match at St Mary's before Martial showed good composure in front of goal when the ball broke to him just outside the six-yard box, following Maya Yoshida's tackle on Juan Mata.

It would be the Japanese defender, playing at right-back in place of Cedric Soares, who would assist Martial for his second goal later in the game. This time the Saints man underhit a backpass towards Maarten Stekelenburg, which the striker pounced on before coolly slotting home.

During the first half, Martial skied a bouncing ball high into the stands from 20 yards – that's the only effort he's had in his 115 minutes of Premier League football that hasn't found the back of the net so far.

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has played 450 minutes of Manchester United's six matches this season, starting four of them up front and missing only their 3-1 victory over Liverpool through injury.

The United captain has yet to score in those five starts, and has only taken eight attempts on goal to start the new Premier League season.

Are Rooney's days numbered at United? Probably not. Louis van Gaal has previously confirmed that he plans to start his captain as often as he can.

However, with Martial making an instant impact, perhaps Rooney's role will be a little deeper once again. The England international spent most of last season playing a central midfield role under the Dutch manager.

His hardworking performances certainly benefited the team, but his lack of goals, and simply having so few attempts on goal, has been a worry to United fans, who were calling for van Gaal to sign a new striker in the summer, before they landed Martial.

Rooney started the game versus Southampton in the number 10 role, with Memphis Depay on the left and Juan Mata on the right. This left Ander Herrera on the bench – the Spaniard himself has made a good start to the season with the limited time and opportunities he's been granted so far.

Louis van Gaal is unlikely to play two strikers up front – that's not his style, and that's not something he did even when he had Robin van Persie, Rooney and Radamel Falcao last season. Accommodating for Rooney will either mean dropping Martial or Herrera.

It's no certainty that Martial will be given the start this weekend – van Gaal could see this as a good opportunity to get Rooney on the scoresheet – both easing pressure on the striker and simply getting him off the mark for the season.

Martial is also far from the complete package – he joined United with limited professional experience from his days at Monaco; making 49 Ligue 1 appearances and scoring 11 goals. He also had a very quiet game for United in the UEFA Champions League defeat at PSV Eindhoven.

However, the early signs are very positive. Although he's only had four shots on goal himself, his shots per game ratio is better than Rooney's, but he'll certainly need more support from the playmakers in the team if he wants to be among the top goalscorers this season.

His 42 touches of the ball versus Southampton were similar to the number Rooney has made in each of his four starts up front this season.

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